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Art generates cash

Is this art or can I chuck it out? There's a clear answer to this rather disparaging question when it comes to Berlin as an art location: Yes, this is art and no, you can't chuck it out. The city's art scene is of huge importance to Berlin, both to the city's image and as an economic factor. This is the result of a recently published study of Investitionsbank Berlin (IBB) titled Die Bedeutung von Kunsteinrichtungen als Image- und Wirtschaftsfaktor (The importance of art facilities as an image and economic factor).

In their study, the IBB economists registered a clear increase in visitor numbers to exhibitions. This is positive for the local economy. In 2013, the galleries in the German capital generated a total turnover of 266 million euros which corresponds to an increase of around 7 percent on the previous year. And even though there are no official numbers for the previous calender year the earnings for 2015 are expected to be around 300 million euros.

And it's not just the galleries that benefit. Berlin's art scene is internationally accepted and draws many tourists to the city. Three out of four gallery visitors are not from Berlin. And those who come to the city as tourists not only spend their money on gallery admission fees but also in the surrounding shops and cafés. On average, tourists spend 205 euros a day. 205 euros.

And the broad cultural offerings not only attract tourists to the city, but also improve the recreational value for Berliners. It's not just the galleries around Checkpoint Charlie who have a share in this but also the ones in Auguststraße and Potsdamer Platz as well as the big players such as C/O Berlin exhibition centre or Gallery Weekend. During the last weekend in April it will be that time again - Gallery Weekend (29th April to 1st May) will welcome 20,000 visitors to the city, including many international collectors. Around 50 Berlin-based galleries participate in Gallery Weekend with special exhibitions, programmes, artist talks and much more. 

An odd anecdote illustrates the extent of the success in recent years: At one point the rush was so massive that it became necessary to temporarily impose traffic control at the central hubs of the exhibition areas.